India won today. Their 100th Test win. And not just won, won convincingly - against a contender for the number one spot. India's got themselves to a position from which a win in their next test match will propel them to the top of the rankings. Definitely gloatworthy!
But there's another picture... Sri Lanka picked three spinners for this match - Muralitharan, Herath, and Mendis - three spinners of the calibre that England, Australia, South Africa and the West Indies yearn to possess today. India handled them with such ease that they looked like club cricketers who'd struggle to outdo my legspin. Ajantha Mendis, in particular, was given no respect. He was relentlessly attacked by Sehwag and Gambhir - quite enough to demoralize any bowler, even one who had the same team on the mat in his debut series.
So has his magic faded? His mystery been solved? His mojo been stolen by a Fat Scotsman?
Here are the stats (using Cricinfo's Statsguru) of Ajantha Mendis' bowling career:
In his first three matches (all against India), he took 26 wickets at 18.38, and at an economy of 2.92, with a best of 6/117.
In his next three matches, the corresponding stats are 8 wickets, avg 38.25, econ 2.78, best 4-71.
The next three matches, he took 8 wickets again, but at an average of 44, an economy of 2.93 and a best of 3-20.
Then comes the Kanpur test. 2 wickets for 162, average 81, economy of 4.26.
It seems like the teams have figured him out - but keep in mind that he is still only 10 tests old, and has only played India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and New Zealand. He may still do well, if given a chance, against the (other) bigwigs, Australia and South Africa, and definitely against West Indies. With Herath breathing down his neck though (figuratively, I've no idea what goes on in the Lankan camp), Mendis may have limited opportunities. He is certain to be dropped for the third test at Mumbai, since Herath was better at Kanpur and had a mystery ball of his own. He's probably hoping Mumbai will be a dustbowl, which is a possibility if the curator is an ass.
Unless Mendis steps up his game and invents a ball that swings away, breaks in and keeps swirling until it avoids the bat, he'll probably remain on the sidelines. But I'm not complaining - anyone who plays for KKR is subject to some suffering.